Pentagon Finally Sees the Barracks Conditions Troops Have Been Subjected to for Decades

Hank Shiffman /
Hank Shiffman /

Mold, backed up toilets, non-functioning AC, or non-functioning washers and driers. If we had ANY of those in our apartment or house that we rented, we would never sign to live in that location. Yet for troops in the US military, especially the Army and Marine Corps, these kinds of issues are just par for the course.

Now a new report has uncovered what troops and Veterans have known for years, but too many are afraid to speak up about. The Department of Defense’s (DOD) privacy and health standards are not only failing to be met, but they are being outright ignored. In response, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent people to 10 different bases. While there, they spent time interviewing installation officials and residents in the barracks, as well as seeing different housing campuses firsthand.

In these conversations, they wanted to determine if the DOD is fixing problems in a good time or properly. As a repeat of this investigation, the GAO released a statement. “We found that living conditions in some military barracks may pose potentially serious risks to the physical and mental health of service members, as well as their safety. During site visits, we observed a variety of living conditions that service members and unit leaders told us were negatively affecting them.”

In one living area, senior enlisted servicemembers told the GAO that living conditions were “unacceptable” and impeded them from helping those assigned to them. Former residents who were all junior enlisted cited a list of concerns. Months-long interruptions to hot water clogged showers, broken door locks and elevators, as well as mold infestation, were among the chief complaints.

These problems have been around as long as the military has existed. Senior leaders opt to ignore them or downplay them a majority of the time. With the Department of Public Works (DPW) running these repairs on base and no senior leadership “ownership” of the barracks, nobody who cares is in charge. Now it’s time to fix that, especially since we are not currently a country at war.